According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three counties surrounding the nation's capitol are the most prosperous in the United States. These affluent suburbs have helped the Washington D.C. metropolitan region as a whole rank second-highest in the nation in terms of median income. The new figures also show that the region enjoys the least poverty of any major metropolitan area in the country.
"Rapidly growing Loudoun County has emerged as the wealthiest jurisdiction in the nation, with its households last year having a median income of more than $98,000. It is followed by Fairfax and Howard counties, with Montgomery County not far behind.
That accumulation of suburban wealth, local economists said, is a side effect of the enormous flow of federal money into the region through contracts for defense and homeland security work in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, coming after the local technology boom of the 1990s. "When you put that together . . . you have a recipe for heightened prosperity," said Anirban Basu, an economist at a Baltimore consulting firm."